Olivia Culpo has revealed that she was asked to “cover up” before boarding an American Airlines flight to Cabo San Lucas, leaving travellers wondering what this airline’s dress code really is.
In an Instagram story posted on 13 January, Olivia’s sister, Aurora Culpo, shared that the former Miss Universe was told to put a “blouse” on over her outfit, or else she wouldn’t be allowed onto the flight.
The clip showed that Culpo, 29, was wearing a long black cardigan, biker shorts, and a sports bra.
“She looks cute, she looks appropriate,” Aurora said about her sister. “They call her up to the desk and tell her she needs to put a blouse on, otherwise she can’t get on the plane.”
“Tell me that is not so, f***ed up,” she added.
The following video in Aurora’s story shows Culpo in a long grey hoodie. And next to them is another passenger, who is wearing an outfit that is similar to Culpo.
“That’s weird,” the passenger said in response to Culpo being asked to change, confessing that her shirt had a lower-cut than the model’s sports bra did.
Culpo reposted her sister’s story to her account and found humour in the situation. “Oh no i’m confused lol,” she wrote. “Is this inappropriate/offensive ?”
“Leave it to Aurora and me to cause a scene. Hide me,” Culpo wrote in her following Instagram story.
This isn’t the first time that passengers have been asked to “cover up” on an American Airlines flight. Back in 2019, Tisha Rowe was traveling to the US from Jamaica with her son. Before boarding her flight, an American Airlines worker asked to talk to her about the romper she was wearing.
“Here is what i was wearing when @AmericanAir asked me to deplane for a talk,” Rowe tweeted, along with a photo of her romper. “At which point I was asked to “cover up”. When defending my outfit I was threatened with not getting back on the flight unless I walked down the aisle wrapped in a blanket.”
Rowe told The Washington Post that after the flight, she found a passenger who was wearing shorts shorter than her. The passenger then agreed to back Rowe up in a formal complaint.
Shannon Gils, American Airlines spokeswoman, contacted Rowe after hearing about what happened on the plane. She said that the airline apologised to Rowe and are “committed to providing a positive, safe travel experience for everyone who flies with [them].”
Rowe said that she was also issued a refund, but she and her son were still hurt and traumatised by the incident.
“If you really want to make it right, you have to realise this was traumatic for both of us,” she said.
More recently, a passenger was barred from an American Airlines flight because of what she was wearing.
In July 2021, fitness model Deniz Saypinar noted on her Instagram story that she couldn’t go on her flight from Texas to Miami because her denim shorts were “too short.” She was also wearing a cropped brown tank top.
She narrated the incident and claimed that the staff said she was practically “naked.”
“They literally didn’t take me to the plane because they say ‘you’re naked and you offend other families,” she said.
American Airlines later released a statement noting that according to their “conditions of carriage, all customers must dress appropriately and offensive clothing isn’t permitted on board our flight.”
They also added that Saypinar was “rebooked on a subsequent flight” and made it safely to Miami.
According to American Airlines’ website, passengers have to “dress appropriately; bare feet or offensive clothing aren’t allowed.”
However, the 2018 American Airlines Travel Guide goes more into detail about their on-flight dress code. Under the “dress guidelines while traveling” section, the company notes that guests shouldn’t wear anything “offensive or distractive.”
“You shouldn’t wear anything, such as super short shorts, bare-midriff, provocative/revealing/see-through, etc.,” the guide reads.
It also suggests that when “in doubt” about their attire, passengers can ask themselves: “Do I blend in with customers, do I appear better dressed than other customers?” If the answer is yes, then they’re “probably set.”
The Independent has reached out to American Airlines for a comment.
Besides American Airlines, passengers travelling with other airlines have been approached by staff about the dress code. In January of last year, Catherine Bampton told News.com.au that when she was trying to get on a Virgin Australia Airlines flight, she was stopped because of her outfit.
Bampton was wearing a cropped halter top and high-waisted jeans. She claimed that she was told that “the pilot doesn’t like people showing too much skin,” so she had to put on her jacket.
Virgin Australia notes on its website that travellers must wear “suitable clothing that covers [their] bottom half,” including shorts, skirts, and pants. Sleeveless shirts are allowed, as well.
The airline shared a statement with Sun Online Travel, Virgin Australia said that it’s always their intention to make travellers feel “welcome and have a comfortable journey.” The company explained that they were reviewing the incident, trying to get in contact with Bampton, “reminding frontline team members” of guests’ dress codes.